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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 18:21 GMT

Lefebvre calls it quits
By Craig Ray in Bloemfontein

Most of the cricket-loving world did not notice the retirement of one of the game's true pioneers.

But several thousand Dutch players and many former and current county professionals in England will quietly tip their caps in recognition of Roland Lefebvre's services to the game.

Roland Lefebvre appeals against Australia
Lefebvre claimed 200 wickets in representative games for Holland

The 40-year-old former Somerset and Glamorgan player officially hung up his bowling boots following Holland's 64-run win over Namibia in their final World Cup match of 2003.

Sadly for him, it was not as playing captain because of a troublesome hamstring.

Showing true professionalism, he stood down rather than attempt one final hurrah.

"I was disappointed to miss the game, it was tough this morning, but after the team won I was less disappointed," Lefebvre told the BBC Sport website.

As with many youngsters, Lefebvre discovered cricket through the enthusiasm of his parents who played socially in the Dutch lower leagues.

"My dad took me to the field and I fell in love with the game. That is how a lot people learn about cricket in Holland," he said.

His obvious talent brought him to England and to Somerset where he played a significant role at the club, particularly in the one-day set-up.

"Going over to England was very daunting because suddenly you are playing against these superstars that you would only see on television.

Lefebvre watches African dancers
The World Cup left Lefebvre with many happy memories

"I remember my first game for Somerset I had the ball in my hand and was shaking as I started my run up. I was thinking 'How do I bowl? What do I do?'

"But you learn quickly to control your own game and not rely on others and luckily I survived and I had six fantastic years.

"My best memory was the 1993 season with Glamorgan when we won the Sunday League and we had an absolutely glorious season, which was also the last season of Vivian Richards.

"Individual performances are too hard to single out. I can look back on 20 years of successful cricket."

He always returned to Holland and helped develop the game there, playing in four ICC Trophy winning teams, dating back to 1986.

Holland qualified for the 1996 World Cup but had to wait seven years for their next opportunity.

In that period, the national period shed imported players in favour of a squad made up entirely of players born in Holland, something that Lefebvre is extremely proud of.

"The collective effort of this side was better than in 1996 and this is a side with 15 Dutch born players. The 1996 side had four foreign nationals, it was more a united nations than a Dutch team."

He is not lost to the sport and will continue as a development officer for Dutch cricket and pour back some of that vast experience into the game he loves.

As for his teammates, West Indies 2007 already in their thoughts.





Links to more Netherlands stories


 

SEE ALSO
Dutch end on high note
03 Mar 03 |  Team Pages
Have Your Say on Holland
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say


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